The Andy Baker Tape Is Short but Sweet

What do you get when you combine The Blair Witch Project with Creep? You get The Andy Baker Tape, a found footage film directed by Bret Lada and starring Lada himself along with Dustin Fontaine. It’s about a man named Jeff who meets his half-brother Andy Baker for the first time, and soon afterwards they take the last road trip of their lives.

Going into The Andy Baker Tape, that brief plot synopsis was all I knew about the movie, so I had no idea what was going to happen to these characters. Would one of them turn out to be a murderous psychopath? Were they going to encounter a malevolent supernatural being? Were they going to piss off the wrong people in some Summerisle-esque small town? I really didn’t know what to expect, but I decided to take a chance on the film anyway. And I’m glad I did.

For starters, Bred Lada and Dustin Fontaine do a great job of carrying The Andy Baker Tape from start to finish. In fact, their characters are pretty much the only people in this movie, so its success or failure rests entirely on their shoulders, and they completely nail It. The film starts out with Jeff going out to meet his brother for the first time, and right off the bat, I knew I liked this guy. He seemed cool, confident, and totally believable, so I was on board with him immediately.

Then, when we meet Andy, he’s also really likable, but something seems a bit off about him. He’s nowhere close to Creep-level weird, but you can tell there’s something not quite right lurking beneath his facade of normality. It’s tough to put your finger on it and explain just what it is, but if you watch the movie, you’ll definitely see it.

Jeff and Andy in a car

When these two brothers hang out for the first time, there’s a slight hint of awkwardness between them, but on the whole, they have a really fun day together, and the actors’ excellent chemistry makes their budding relationship very easy to buy into. It’s a pretty good setup, so I was excited to see what was coming next.

Soon afterwards, Jeff and Andy meet up again and go on a road trip together, and that’s when things begin to go south. At first, nothing huge happens, but you can tell they don’t mesh quite as well as they thought they would. Tensions begin to rise a bit, but wisely, The Andy Baker Tape doesn’t take a completely linear approach to the friction between them.

Instead, the tension ebbs and flows, so I wasn’t quite sure where the story was going. Was their relationship doomed to fall apart in some sort of violent outburst, or would they ultimately stand together and meet the movie’s real villain as a united front? I simply didn’t know, and that mystery, along with the believable and likable characters, kept me invested in the film.

This back and forth goes on for a while, and to be honest, I think it actually goes on a bit too long. It eventually got to the point where I thought The Andy Baker Tape might end up being all setup and no payoff, so I was a little worried. Sure, I enjoyed seeing Jeff and Andy on screen together, but I enjoyed it precisely as setup, not as the main course. The film still needed to stick the landing, and if it didn’t, it would’ve ruined everything it did right in the first two acts.

But thankfully, those doubts proved to be completely unwarranted. The horror finally kicks into gear in the last 10-15 minutes or so, and I ended up really enjoying it. Granted, the finale stays relatively small, but for a small, two-character movie, it’s perfect. It’s tense and creepy, and its high points just might send a slight chill down your spine.

Andy talking

However, I did have one big moment of doubt about it. There was a point in the third act when I thought it was just going to be a cheap rip-off of Creep, but after a few minutes, that fear vanished. While there are definitely similarities between these two endings, they’re different enough that the parallels stopped bothering me very quickly.

All that being said, The Andy Baker Tape is not a perfect movie. Most notably, there are a couple of times when Jeff makes some really stupid decisions regarding Andy, and every time he did, it took me out of the story a tiny bit.

For example, when they decide to go on the road trip together, it’s actually a pretty important trip for Jeff. His livelihood depends on it, so he shouldn’t have taken Andy with him. I get that he was trying to build a relationship with his newfound brother, but at that point, he had only known the guy for a day. He had no idea if Andy was trustworthy or not, so he should’ve gone on the trip by himself and continued getting to know his brother after he got back. But instead, he takes Andy with him, and even though the repercussions don’t come immediately, that stupid decision does end up leading to his grim fate.

In the grand scheme of things, though, these moments aren’t really a huge problem. Sure, they bothered me a bit, but on the whole, the good in The Andy Baker Tape far outweighs the bad. It has some really believable and likable characters fueled by excellent performances, and when the horror kicks into gear in the third act, it’s quite good. Sure, this isn’t one of the best films of the year, but if you have an extra 70 minutes that you want to spend doing something fun, you should definitely check this movie out.

The Andy Baker Tape goes up on the Terror Films YouTube channel on August 5, and then it hits VOD a week later, on August 12.

One Comment

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  1. MILD SPOILERS!!! The best thing about this movie was that it was only an hour. I’m not a big fan of the fad genre that is found footage for many reasons. Assuming the primary reason to film a movie in this style is to make it more immersive and believable via its first person perspective then the whole film falls flat when the camera must be held by a ghost or unseen 3rd character to capture the events of the story in the way they are visually depicted. That’s not even the worst part of the movie. 55 minutes of kinda sorta maybe something isn’t right culminating in something is not right but we don’t know how or why is best done through a different perspective than a Gen Z/millennial aspiring YouTuber spending his every waking moment telling us why he’s so damned important without advancing any sort of plot or character development. Bland, poorly done film college assignment that made it to one of Prime’s gazillion sub channels. But that’s just my opinion.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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